copyright 1969; Dodd, Mead & Company publishers, New York; Book Club Edition; hardbound; very good condition with unmarked pages; dust jacket very good.
Hallowe'en Party is a work of detective fiction by Agatha Christie and first published in the UK by the Collins Crime Club in November 1969 and in the US by Dodd, Mead and Company later in the same year. The UK edition retailed for twenty-five shillings. In preparation for decimalisation on 15 February 1971, it was also priced on the dustjacket at £1.25. The US edition retailed at $5.95.
The novel features Belgian detective Hercule Poirot and the mystery novelist Ariadne Oliver, who begins the novel in attendance at a Hallowe'en party. A girl at the party claims she witnessed a murder, which, at the time, she was too young to realize was a murder. Soon, the girl herself is found murdered, and Oliver calls in Poirot. This book was dedicated to P.G. Wodehouse.
A review at the time of publication and another 20 years later both felt this story was not one of Agatha Christie's best, "a disappointment", a novel littered with loose ends and unrealized characters.
At a Hallowe'en party held at Rowena Drake's home in Woodleigh Common, thirteen-year-old Joyce Reynolds tells everyone attending she had once seen a murder, but had not realised it was one until later. When the party ends, Joyce is found dead, having been drowned in an apple-bobbing tub. Ariadne Oliver, attending the party while visiting her friend Judith Butler, calls on Hercule Poirot to investigate the murder and Joyce's claim. With help from retired Superintendent Spence, Poirot makes a list of deaths and disappearances for the last few years in Woodleigh Common: Rowena's aunt, Mrs Llewellyn-Smythe, died suddenly; her au pair Olga Seminoff disappeared, when a codicil that favoured her in her employer's will was found to be a forgery; Leslie Ferrier, a lawyer's clerk, was stabbed in the back by an unknown assailant; Charlotte Benfield, a sixteen-year-old shop assistant, was found dead with multiple head injuries; and Janet White, a teacher at Elms School, was strangled to death.
Poirot learns a few interesting facts: Judith's daughter Miranda was Joyce's closest friend, and the pair shared secrets between them; Joyce was known to be a teller of tales to gain attention; Elizabeth Whittaker, a mathematics teacher attending the party, witnessed Rowena become startled and drop a glass vase of water outside the door of the library, while the party-goers were playing snapdragon; Ferrier had previous convictions for forgery, and many suspected that he and Olga were working together to steal Mrs Llewellyn-Smythe's fortune; a one-time cleaner of Mrs Llewellyn-Smythe had been witness to her employer making the codicil; a beautiful garden built within an abandoned quarry for Mrs Llewellyn-Smythe, was designed by Michael Garfield, a man with narcissistic behaviour; the victim's brother, Leopold Reynolds, has become flush with money of late.
Leopold is later found dead, having been drowned in a...